Over the past seven years, I have been lucky enough to forge a career celebrating love. Officiating marriage - the highest level of commitment that a couple make within their relationship, and what an honour it's been.
I have done many same-sex commitment ceremonies, and each of these have been beautiful and so heartfelt, but they have also left me feeling a little flat, because at the end of the day, it was a gorgeous celebration of love, without the legal recognition. Which is simply, completely unfair.
There was no difference in the way my same sex couples looked into their partners eyes, there was no difference in the beautiful vows they spoke, there was no difference in their levels of excitement for what their future together holds. Yet theres is a vast difference on how their relationship is recognised.
As I celebrant we must say the following words at every marriage we formalise:
" I Janelle Bridge, am duly authorised by law, to solemnise marriages according to law. Before you are joined in marriage, in my presence and the presence of these witnesses. I am to remind you of the solemn and binding nature of the relationship into which you are now about to enter. Marriage in Australia, is the union of a man and a woman, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life"
Imagine standing, in front of a group of 80 - 100 guests, talking about marriage and how any man and woman can get married, but you in the back, with your same sex partner of 30 years, you cant mate! Sorry.
Its an awful feeling, and it excludes people at a celebration of love and commitment.
I have tried to make this less harsh over the years, by adding in the word 'current" before law, and also adding in this line after the legal requirement. "However I look strongly believe in and look forward to marriage equality" but why should we have to.
Lets just start being fair and stop discriminating. Vote yes!